Cutting Tool Specialist Uses EDGECAM For New Unique Customer ServiceCutting tool specialist CIS has set up a unique service, proving out parts for customers, using EDGECAM as both its CAD and CAM systems.
Operating from its new, dedicated, Product Proving Centre in High Wycombe, CIS now provides full tooling information and cutting data for components that customers are having issues with. Also, if the customer is already using EDGECAM, CIS can supply the full CNC program as well.
CIS has distributed cutting tools for over 30 years, currently supplying a wide range from companies such as Sandvik Coromant, Seco, Iscar, and Garr Tool. And now Managing Director Bryan Clover has taken the service a step further, by setting up the Product Proving Centre to assist customers facing issues with individual components.
Centre Manager Dave Clarke says: “We work with manufacturers in many industrial sectors, including motorsport, aircraft and medical, where high precision components and fast turn-around times are essential. Where they’re having difficulty making a part, or need advice on how to improve cycle times to comply with ever faster deadlines, we can now give them all the information to meet their needs.”
The new service involves interrogating the customer’s CAD model in EDGECAM, then looking at the optimal way of manufacturing it, which often includes better performing cutting tools and improved CAM toolpaths. Once they have the best solution that fits the customer’s CNC machines they produce the part on their own CNC machines at the centre, and then give the customer all the relevant cutting data regarding feeds and speeds, and cutting tool information. “We provide them with the full solution, so they can complete their order for the finished parts, using the correct tool in the correct way with appropriate back ends and holders, and in the cycle times they need to achieve.”
He says they chose EDGECAM to be their only CAD/CAM partner in the new venture because of its strength in all disciplines. “We have a Doosan 2-axis lathe and 3-axis mill, along with a Grob horizontal 5-axis machine, so it’s essential that we have software that can give us optimum toolpaths on all the types of cutting technology we use. I’ve used other CAM systems in the past, but EDGECAM is the only one that’s strong on milling, turning and mill-turn.”
EDGECAM is used to machine all components at the Centre, ensuring that the customer is given a realistic cycle time. “That’s extremely important. If a customer was producing a part in 30 minutes and we can show them how to do it in 20, that’s a good saving on one part...but a massive saving on 100 parts.”
They also use EDGECAM’s Waveform Roughing Strategy, a high speed machining technique giving faster material removal rates and longer tool life. The full flute length of the tool is utilised, consistently engaging with the material, giving a constant cutting load, and moving in a smooth path to avoid sharp changes in direction which maintains the machine tool’s velocity. The feed rate can remain at the optimal value throughout the cycle. Cutting along as much of the flute length as possible distributes wear evenly along the entire flute length rather than just the tip, massively reducing tool vibration. The radial cut depth is also reduced to ensure a consistent cutting force, allowing cut material to escape from the flutes. Tool life is further extended, as most of the heat is removed in the chip.
“Waveform is new to some customers, and at first they are concerned that the technique will break the tools. But once we demonstrate how it works it really opens their eyes to what can be achieved.”
While Dave Clarke was working alone at the Product Proving Centre, he proved out around 30 customer products a month, which he expects to rise to around 70 with the recent appointment of a second senior applications engineer. “We’ve even helped customers win business because the information we’ve given them regarding cycle times and how they should manufacture the part means they can price the component more accurately when they’re quoting for a job.”
The service also involves the practical testing of new cutting tools when they are released. “We can test them at the centre and provide full data so that customers don’t have to have downtime on their own machines carrying out this type of R & D work.
The data is supplied to customers within 24 – 48 hours, in a test report detailing the cutting tools used, feeds and speeds, and recommendations. “If we’ve used Waveform, we’ll also include information about the improved material removal rates, and all other aspects of this high speed machining technique.”
As well as the Product Proving Centre and warehouse at High Wycombe, CIS also has distribution branches in Cambridgeshire and Portsmouth.
EDGECAM’s Strategic Partnership Manager, Wesley Tonks says: “This service provided by the CIS Product Proving Centre gives customers the full knowledge of how they can optimally manufacture a specific component, which can have a significant, positive impact on their bottom line. And the fact that EDGECAM is their sole CAD/CAM partner shows the software’s added value. Unbiased tool selection ensures that both technologies complement each other. The Centre finds the right tool for the right application, and EDGECAM always makes sure it is used to its full capacity with the best possible toolpaths.”